[SystemSafety] Interesting new publication about safety for autonomous vehicles

Olwen Morgan olwen at phaedsys.com
Wed Jul 10 12:21:10 CEST 2019


A bit of a rant:

Not strictly about autonomous vehicles (although there may be 
connections) but I thought I'd air this recent experience:

A month ago I had to rent a car for almost three weeks. Enterprise gave 
me a Misubishi Eclipse Cross. Here are some of my experiences with it:

1.    The LED instrument panel is the most visually cluttered I've seen 
in any road vehicle.

2.    The central console is not turned in towards the driver as it is 
on Saabs. This means that you have to stretch to operate the topmost, 
leftmost touch screen control - with the result that your right hand 
tends to drop and you start steering to the right.

3.    Both wing mirrors have built-in orange LED lights that illuminate 
to warn of vehicles approaching your blind spot. The driver's side one 
is so far to the edge of peripheral vision that you don't notice it when 
you are looking ahead. The light of the passenger side mirror is 
completely outside the range of (my) peripheral vision.

4.    The lumbar support in the driver's seat is next to useless 
(although I admit that I'm demanding in that respect owing to an old 
chest injury and back trouble).

So far, then: Cr at p HMI design and underwhelming physical ergonomics. ... 
But it goes on and gets more interesting:

5.    The adaptive cruise control works very well on major roads and 
will keep you at a safe distance from the vehicle in front but ... it 
has sensors that look to the side of the car and cause brakes to be 
applied if the system thinks you might hit something to either side. 
This causes it to react to the outward turn of a cycle wheel when you 
are 1.5 metres wide of the cyclist on an otherwise clear road. Result: 
Sharp and startling braking.

6.    The car has all-wheel control. With adaptive cruise control 
engaged, it will actually accelerate into bends and continue 
accelerating as it goes round them.

7.    If you brake as you approach a roundabout, the cruise control 
disengages. That's fine but going round one particularly poorly surfaced 
roundabout, the bumping made me accidentally trip the control to restore 
cruise control, whereupon the car accelerated into the roundabout

8.    The user manual is an inch thick and reading it I never discovered 
how to engage the speed limiter (or even whether the controls for it 
were actually working correctly). Hence I used cruise control as a 
substitute when otherwise I might not and discovered the infelicitous 
behaviours described above.

and, unrelated to the electronic systems:

9.    Despite the diesel engine, it struggled to achieve 40mpg fuel 
economy ... :-((

This is not an autonomous vehicle yet it still has behaviours that to my 
mind are dangerous. If we cannot get non-autonomous vehicles right, WTF 
are we doing investing billions in developing autonomous ones?

End of rant.

regards to all,


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